Severn Trent PLC - SVT outlines ambitious sustainability commitments
Severn Trent outlines ambitious sustainability commitments for the future
We are making a number of ambitious long-term commitments that will enable us to support our purpose of taking care of one of life's essentials. These commitments are integral to the delivery of the customer outcomes agreed in our business plan for the next five years and also in securing a sustainable long-term future for the business we run. As part of our plan we have chosen to invest
· Deliver our Triple Carbon Pledge of Net Zero emissions, 100% energy from renewable sources and 100% electric fleet, all by 2030:
- committing to develop science based targets with real reductions in carbon across scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions1;
- achieving our 100% renewable energy target by
- purchasing only electric cars from now, and only electric vans from 2023;
· Enhance the biodiversity of 5,000 hectares of land (1% of the national target2) by 2027;
· Work with around 9,000 farmers - 63% of the farmers in our whole region - to adapt working practices and adopt nature based solutions to reduce pollutants in 44 catchments;
· Reduce leakage by 15% by 2025 and by 50% by 2045;
· Extend our commitment to paying the living wage to anyone who works with Severn Trent in our supply chain, not just our direct employees;
· Annually supporting 195,000 customers who struggle to pay their bill, by 2025;
· Donate 1% of
· Continuing to have one of the lowest combined bills in
Our Capital Markets Day will explore our commitments in more detail and these are outlined on the following pages.
"We firmly believe that businesses with a strong social purpose can deliver better and more sustainable outcomes for all stakeholders over the long term. To truly make a difference we need to look after nature and the precious resources it provides, we need the most talented and engaged minds helping us to drive performance and innovate, and we need customers who trust us to do the right thing for their communities. We're incredibly proud of the work we have done so far when it comes to sustainability and excited that our stakeholders support the approach we are taking for the future. By committing to invest
"This very significant contribution from Severn Trent toward the creation of a national Nature Recovery Network could not be more welcome. If we are to achieve our goal to be the first generation to leave nature in a better state than we found it then this is exactly the kind of leadership, vision and partnership working that we will need. We hope that other major companies will soon come forward with comparable ambition, leading over time to an historic turnaround in the fortunes of our wildlife and natural environment."
Materials from the day and the introduction hosted by
1See glossary for definition
2As set out in the Government's 25 year environment plan
An established track record
Over the past five years we have already made significant strides to becoming a more sustainable business that delivers great outcomes for a broad range of stakeholders. We have:
· Invested over
· Reduced our net carbon emissions by 40% since 2015, and by 57% since 2007;
· Reduced leakage by 6% and waste water pollutions by around 20%;
· Supported over 50,000 customers each year who struggle to pay their bill;
· Educated over 700,000 customers about responsible water use;
· Established a Sustainable Finance Framework to match our commitments; and
· Been credited with the Fair Tax Mark for transparently paying the right amount of tax.
Making a step change in our approach
The business planning process for AMP7 created an important opportunity for us to align our view on what good business looks like with the views of our customers. The work we created together around societal purpose formed a key component of our PR19 submission and our ongoing approach, so much so that we have asked Ofwat to embed this within our licence to operate.
Attendees of our Capital Markets Day today will hear the following:
Triple Carbon Pledge
We have been innovating and leading on carbon reduction for over 40 years, starting with anaerobic digestion of our sewage sludge. Our years of experience in this area have helped position us at the frontier of the sector when it comes to energy generation which, together with a focus on demand, have significantly reduced our carbon emissions as well as our operating costs. We recognised the need to go further and in
· Net zero carbon by 2030
- Committing to real reductions in carbon across Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement1 and setting science based targets to be transparent on our progress.
- Insourcing our capital design team so that we build carbon impact into the way we design and build all future assets.
- Fully utilising our
· 100% electric vehicles by 20302
- All cars purchased going forward will be electric, and 100% of our car fleet will be electric by 2026.
- Increasing our number of electric vans, with only electric purchases from 2023.
- Working with vehicle suppliers to explore options for HGVs and tankers.
- Installing 300 charge points over 65 sites in the next 18 months.
· 100% renewable energy by 2030
- Will be achieved from
- Continuing to increase self-generation, primarily through Bioresources and food waste AD.
- Entering into dedicated power purchase agreements to meet a proportion of our energy needs.
1 See glossary for definition.
2 Assumes suitable specialist vehicles such as tankers become available within that time window.
Restoring the natural habitat
By working to improve the natural habitat at each stage of the water cycle, we can improve the environment and the local areas our communities work and live in as well as substantially reduce the cost to our business. We will commit to the restoration of natural habitats by:
· Enhancing the biodiversity of 5,000 hectares of land (1% of the national target) by 2027, with our Great Big Nature Boost
- Using wildflower margins and beetle banks to reduce pesticide use, run-off and soil erosion.
- Planting 1.3 million trees over the next 10 years to help reduce flooding and improve water quality.
· Halving the number of pollutions in our region over the next five years
- Encouraging changes in behaviour through customer education, working with businesses to install fat traps, and prosecuting where necessary.
- Investing in an in-house reactive tankering team in our waste business to prevent small incidents turning into serious pollutions.
· Improving the quality of a further third of the region's rivers, equating to 2,100km
- Exploring nature-based solutions to remove harmful nutrients, such as phosphates, in rivers.
- Deploying wetlands to treat waste at our smaller sites, reducing costs and creating wildlife habitats.
· Improve river water quality in 44 of our most important catchment areas by engaging with c.9,000 farmers (63% of those in our region) to reduce pollutants from agriculture entering the watercourse.
Managing water scarcity
Water is a vital component of our supply chain and through our 25 year Water Resource Management Plan we know that meaningful reductions in leakage and consumption are needed to mitigate the impact of climate change and population growth. On a national scale, we must play our part in helping to balance the geographical supply and demand challenges we face and think creatively about how we build infrastructure that allows us to share resources. As part of our long-term strategy on water management, we will:
· Deliver a 15% reduction in leakage by 2025 and commit to a 50% reduction by 2045
- Improving how we manage our own network and reducing customer-side leaks.
- Finding and fixing leaks faster with new technology such as fibre optics and robotics.
- Benefitting from the 40,000 sensors installed across our network over the last two years.
- Leveraging the
· Reduce Per Capita Consumption (PCC1) by 3.5%, or 36 million litres a day, by 2025
- Installing at least 500,000 meters by 2025 to reduce leakage and PCC, and provide valuable data.
- Educating 500,000 schoolchildren over the next five years to use water wisely.
- Helping our customers reduce consumption by providing home surveys and water-saving devices.
· Establishing the right infrastructure-based solution to balance water demand across the North and South of
1 See glossary for definition.
Helping people thrive
As a business which provides an essential service to our region, we can (and do) make a real difference to the people we interact with every day, whether that’s customers, colleagues, or communities. Around 87% of our employees are also our customers and they live in our communities, making the connection to our business uniquely strong. This connection creates a highly motivated and engaged workforce who are inspired to do their best work and they expect us to do our best for those we serve. This shines through in our commitments to:
· Work with the sector to eradicate water poverty
- No combined water and waste bills to be greater than 5% of disposable income by 2030.
- Supporting 195,000 of our customers who struggle to pay each year, by 2025.
· Creating an inclusive work environment and caring for our colleagues
- Committing to the recommendations of the Parker review1 on BAME1 inclusivity.
- Extending our commitment to paying the living wage to anyone who works with Severn Trent in our supply chain, not just our direct employees.
- Continuing our approach to improving social mobility, having last year recruited 44% of new starters from social mobility cold spots.
· Donating 1% of
- Awarding grants of up to
Being a company you can trust
We understand that in order to earn trust you need to deliver on commitments, report your progress transparently and create a governance structure that enables good decision making. Our track record of doing the right thing, combined with our open culture, has supported the progress we have made to date and we will continue to improve, starting with:
· Transparent reporting in all of our publications, and this year publishing our first separate Sustainability report, reflecting TCFD1 and GRI1 guidelines, alongside our Annual Report.
· A third of every employee's bonus is linked to our performance across our sustainability commitments - from the Executive Committee to the front line.
· Embedding social purpose and sustainability in our decision making process across our organisation and reporting on it.
· Requesting our social purpose commitments be enshrined in our licence to operate with Ofwat.
Commitments in numbers
In our plan for the next five years we have committed to improving on a range of areas in consultation with our customers. These are the things they care about the most and are aligned with our sustainability ambitions. The following table gives an indication of where the
Our Triple Carbon Pledge
Restoring the natural habitat
Managing water scarcity
Our role in Society
Figures shown in average AMP7 prices.
1 See glossary for definition.
AMP7: Asset Management Plan for the five year regulatory period starting
PCC: Per Capita Consumption (PCC) is the average amount of water used by each person that lives in a household property (litres per head per day).
Living Wage: The real living wage is an independent calculation of the cost of living, based on a basket of household goods and services.
Scope 1 emissions: All direct emissions from the activities of the business.
Scope 2 emissions: Indirect emissions from electricity purchased and used by the business.
Scope 3 emissions: All other indirect emissions from activities of the business, but occur from sources that we do not own or control.
Paris Agreement: The Paris Agreement is an agreement within the
REGO-backed renewable energy: Energy which is backed by Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO). The REGO scheme is a government scheme, regulated by Ofgem which provides transparency to consumers about the proportion of electricity that suppliers source from renewable generation.
Parker Review: Independent review by Sir
BAME: Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic.
GRI: The GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards (GRI Standards) are the most widely adopted global standards for sustainability reporting.
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This document contains statements that are, or may be deemed to be, 'forward-looking statements' with respect to Severn Trent's financial condition, results of operations and business and certain of Severn Trent's plans and objectives with respect to these items.
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